THE STRUGGLE FOR ASCENDANCY IN THE PERSIAN GULF
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Onnus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her Kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat. ^
Paradise Lost, Book II., line i.
The Effect on History of Rounding the Cape of Good
Hope.—One of the most important events in history is
the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope by Bartholomew
Dias in A.D. 148y-S,1 and the subsequent opening up of
direct sea-borne trade between Europe and India. Until
this feat was accomplished, Europe was obliged to purchase
spices and other Eastern products from Moslem merchants,
whose rulers drew vast revenues directly from the customs
they levied and indirectly from the prosperity which this
trade conferred. The establishment of direct sea inter-
course with Europe changed all this. In the two arteries
of trade, through the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, the
flow of commerce ceased. From that event dates the
falling off in wealth and power of the Moslem states of
Turkey and Egypt, although some generations were yet
to pass before the sea trade was fully established and its
1 For this date vide " The Voyages of Diago CSo and Bartholomew Dias, 1482-8,"
by Ravenstein, in Jaumd R.G.S.^ vol. xvi. pp. 625-55. ^n ^e Museum at Capetown
I have seen a fragment of the padrone erected by the great explorer at Angra Pequejja.,.
The other fragments are at Lisbon.